‘Disney Day’ dilemma

Teachers protest against sexism ‘Disney Day’

Marshall Payton, Staff Writer

Holly Hopkins
Teachers Carrie Marcantonio, Angela Andrews, Sara Andrews, Be-Asia Mckerracher, Melissa Camarda, and Andrea Caspari [left to right] dress up as righteous women’s rights leaders such as Virginia Woolf and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. “Many teachers have been doing this for several years. I joined them last year when I realized how important it would be to lead students by example,” Caspari said.
Teachers protested against Disney on Sept. 27 in order to demonstrate their belief that Disney has put “chains” on female character and made them dependant on male characters.

“Corporations use these characters to sell items in such a way to continue gender stereotypes – stripping female superheroes from backpacks, leaving only the male superheroes or the even the non-human superheroes,” English teacher Melissa Camarda said. “[Corporations are] in essence erasing the females from the merchandise or changing toys so the character riding it is now a male, even if it was a female in the film.”

Camarda, along with several other teachers including English teachers Be-Asia Mckerracher and Andrea Caspari, didn’t dress up in Disney costumes. Instead, they dressed up as female historical figures and held signs with famous quotes by those females to try to teach gender rights and equality.

Students should look up to people who have made an impact on society through literature, art, and women’s suffrage [right to vote] such as Virginia Woolf and Inez Milholland,” Caspari said.

For Camarda, rather than celebrating the famous Walt Disney, ‘Disney Day’ should instead be about celebrating freedom from sexist behaviors and biased opinions of women.

“I think it is absolutely normal for kids or adults to look up to fictional characters, but I also believe kids can look up to the people in their lives who make a difference for them and our society and those people who are leaders in our society who spend their time and energy to make sure we keep evolving, progressing,” Camarda said.

These teachers believe that looking up to real people is better and more realistic for children. While admiring someone like Ariel is perfectly fine for most, for Camarda, the reality is that Ariel has nothing to teach.

“Students should look up to people who have made an impact on society through literature, art and women’s suffrage,” Caspari said.

For Camarda, Caspari, Mckerracher and many other teachers, Disney Day was less about playing dress up, and more about wanting students to learn and put an end to sexist behaviors in movies, games, and real life.